David Satter on Natalya Estemirova

From this interview with the International Affairs Forum:

IA-Forum: [Would] you please comment on the recent murder of Natalia Estemirova?


Mr. Satter: This is part of a whole string: Stanislav Markelov, Anna Politkovskaya… One of the signs of the cruelty or the lack of morality of the Putin regime is the fact that their protégé, Kadyrov, is really absolutely free to murder anyone he wants to, to torture, to kidnap with complete impunity; whether it’s in Chechnya, whether it’s in Russia, whether it’s in Vienna; as long as he keeps the situation under control for the leadership in Chechnya. This was a woman who was monitoring the human rights situation in Chechnya. She was a colleague of Markelov, who was a colleague of Politkovskaya. So who’s behind it? We know that Kadyrov said the people who are disappearing are being murdered. These are people who are his opponents and enemies.


And don’t expect any serious effort to investigate. When Markelov was killed along with Anastasia Barburova—in broad daylight near the Christ the Savior church on a crowded street—no one thought it worthy of comment until nine days later when Medvedev did an interview with Novaya Gazeta and said something. This shows the character of the regime. Bearing that in mind, an American president should not bend over backwards to praise Putin and to praise the Russian leaders. They are not deserving of that.

Original source: Satter on Obama at La Russophobe.

Frank McCourt: “They thought I was teaching … I was learning.”

As he put it in “Teacher Man,” his third volume of autobiography:
Instead of teaching, I told stories.
Anything to keep them quiet and in their seats.
They thought I was teaching.
I thought I was teaching.
I was learning.

Good words to live by: teaching is learning.

Full story here on Frank McCourt’s teaching (and learning and writing) methods from the New York Times:

McCourt: A Storyteller Even as a Teacher

“Raise our voices in more pleasing and more joyful sounds”

From Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Fourth Movement.

In a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad, it’s reminder of what human beings can accomplish when they are free to live, create, work together … and sing.

Here’s the English translation of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy (written in 1785), which Beethoven adapted and used in the symphony, the composer’s “musical representation of universal brotherhood.”

Oh friends, not these tones!
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds!
Joy! Joy!

Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.

Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul,
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band!

Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and wine,
A friend, proven in death;
Pleasure was to the worm given,
And the cherub stands before God.

Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven’s glorious design,
Run, brothers, your race,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.

Be embraced, millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.

“Moscow pressed to catch activist’s killer”

Western governments have piled pressure on Russia to catch the killers of a renowned rights activist, as campaign groups accused Moscow of turning a blind eye to abuses.

The United Nations also joined calls today for a thorough, “transparent” investigation of the killing of Natalya Estemirova, whose bullet-riddled body was found in Ingushetia yesterday, only hours after her abduction in the neighbouring republic of Chechnya.

Full story here:

Moscow pressed to catch activist’s killer

“Another Voice Silenced in Russia”

They found the body of my friend Natalya Estemirova on Wednesday. She had been abducted by unidentified men that morning in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, where she lived and worked as a human rights defender. She was seen being bundled into a sedan and was heard calling out, “I’m being kidnapped!” Calls to her cellphone went unanswered all day; she missed several important meetings, including one at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and she failed to pick up her daughter as scheduled at 2:30 p.m….

More here:

Human Rights Watch: Another Voice Silenced in Russia

And here:

“Not on Tuesday”

A friend of mine sent me this card:


It fits my hours and days and weeks sooooo well!

The card is from Susan Mrosek’s wonderful Pondering Pool collection (https://www.ponderingpool.com), a selection of giclees, cards, posters, inspirational images and thoughts, and creative writings.

Buy someone a card!

Write something clever on the inside, put their address on the envelope, and mail it!

Pondering Pool

Red, White, and Blue


Red hibiscus


White lizard tail

And blue….

Blue hibiscus

More here:

Red, White, and Shades of Blue

Happy Fourth of July!

“We Are Living In Exponential Times”

From the following video comes a perspective on technology that illustrates the rapid, exponential pace of change since the 1990s – a pace unlike anything human beings have ever experienced. The video ends with: “What does it all mean?” A very good question, don’t you think?

Discovered on Dominik Deobald’s blog here:

Did You Know?

An Unmistakable Sign of Spring

Earlier this week, I was working on some of my typical spring photographs – buds and blooms from throughout my garden – when I took a short break, went outside, and immediately felt like I was being watched. Well, I was being watched, by the nemesis whose reappearance every spring has me overplanting my pond, surrounding it with pots and wire trellises, and taking frequent headcounts of my poor carp that just want to be left to swim and eat in peace. It’s a blue heron, either the same one or certainly a relative of those that have been visiting my neighborhood – so I’ve been told – for at least a decade. “Blue heron” is surely a fine name for a big bird, but I prefer “Pond Monster” – a better reflection of our relationship.

It flew off my roof before I could get my camera out; in these shots, it’s perched on the front peak of my neighbors house.

Pond Monster 1

Click the picture for a wider version; something about those eyes…. you know you’re being evaluated as potential snack when those things turn toward you.

Pond Monster 2

This isn’t a great shot, but it’s the only one I’ve ever gotten of the bird in flight. That wingspan has to be six to eight feet, maybe more. Can you say pterodactyl? Those dangling “fingers” are a nice touch, eh?

Pond Monster 3

Happy Spring!

Christmas Photos!

I have posted a set of photos of some of my Christmas decorations here: Christmas Decorations.